3 Ways to Be Happy When Spending Holidays Without Family
November 15, 2016
Creating ways to stay in contact can make spending holidays without family feel like you’re still together.
The holidays are an especially family-oriented time. When you are unable to physically be with your loved ones, you can take alternative measures to create happy holidays.
For those who have an incarcerated family member, ensuring they feel included and cared-for during the holidays can be accomplished a variety of ways.
Below are three ways to be happy when spending holidays without family.
Hearing from a loved one is a powerful way to feel connected, especially during the holidays. Calling more frequently during this season creates a strong tie to home for an inmate who may not get to hear his or her family members’ voices very often. Ensure your AdvancePay account or your PinDebit account are replenished before Thanksgiving on November 24th to ensure your loved one is able to connect with you.
While inmates don’t have direct access to the internet, some correctional facilities offer email services so that your loved ones can send and receive emails. ConnectNetwork™ provides a service to assist those who would like to write to an inmate. Our Messaging service allows friends and family members to communicate with inmates in an easy and convenient way.
Once a conversation has been started, you can keep up with new messages as they come into your inbox, very similar to an emailing system.
For the holidays, you may consider sending a series of holiday-themed messages, or share hints about their upcoming gift you plan to send.
This type of back and forth communication can help ensure your loved one feels involved even though they are spending holidays without family.
In addition to email, mailing hand-written correspondence is a thoughtful way to let your loved one know you are thinking of them.
Oftentimes, mailing a letter is one of the few ways an inmate can send communication to you, so having their communication reciprocated feels extra special around the holidays.
Remember that all written communication will be reviewed, and your letters may not make it through if they include the following items:
- paper clips
According to PrisonPro.com, sending correspondence is the number one best way to help your loved one feel connected to home.
Finally, sending festive cards or yearly family letters is another common tradition during the holidays to supplement your phone communications and to let your loved one you’re thinking of them.
2. Sending Gifts
The comforts of home are often missed the most during the holidays. Sending your loved one a care package with items to remind them of home is a wonderful way to brighten their holiday.
Consider the following gifts for your inmates:
Family photos are a often shared around the holidays. Consider collecting all of the holiday cards you receive from friends and family, and sending them to your loved one.
Your inmate may have a wish-list in place, but if not, here are some popular books you might choose to send as gifts over the holidays:
- Chicken Soup for the Prisoner’s Soul: 101 Stories to Open the Heart and Rekindle the Spirit of Hope, Healing and Forgiveness
- Serving Time, Serving Others: Acts of Kindness by Inmates, Prison Staff, Victims, and Volunteers
- Reinventing the Body, Resurrecting the Soul: How to Create a New You
- The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself
- The Old Man and The Sea
You may find out if your loved one has a magazine or two they really enjoyed in the past. Subscribing to the magazine on their behalf creates an opportunity for you to mail them the magazine with a little note attached each month over the next year.
- Handmade Cards
Store-bought cards are beautiful, but there is something very special about a handmade card.
Another gift idea that always proves to be very moving and sentimental is the writing of a poem. Taking the time to write a poem shows the recipient that you’re emotionally connected to them.
You don’t need to be an accomplished poet to do something like this. To go a step beyond, you might consider writing a series of poems and creating a book out of them.
For inspiration, read our recent blog collection of poems here.
3. Video Visitation
Oftentimes, the best gift you can give is time shared. While you may not be able to physically visit your loved one, you may be able to take advantage of video visitation, and spend time with them in another way.
Certain facilities are creating new opportunities for inmates to use video visitation using mobile tablets. This type of visitation means that you will be able to spend time with them from the comfort of your own home.
For inmates with children, this can be an especially favorable option. In addition to avoiding travel time, lines and other hassles, children do not need to visit the correctional facility to communicate with their incarcerated parent.
While spending time apart is never easy, we hope this list of ways to stay happy when spending holidays without family gives you inspiration as we near this holiday season.
Do you have any additional ideas we should include for spending holidays without family or friends? Tell us on our Facebook Page.
Posted In: Blog